Faith & Service

New, but no stranger…

By Mitzi Bible, October 22, 2014

They call it the jeans offering.

When David Nasser spoke at Liberty University in Spring 2008 during Spiritual Emphasis Week (a kickoff revival at the start of every semester), he said he felt the Lord leading him to take up an offering for the world’s widows and orphans.

“Make it proportionate to the value of the jeans you’re wearing,” he told students, whether they have a designer label or came from a discount store.

Students responded with much more than the cost of their jeans. They collected more than $80,000 — by far the largest offering ever taken by Liberty’s student body.

During the service, Nasser showed a picture of three teenage siblings living in an orphanage in Ethiopia. He suggested that the offering could go to pay for their adoptions because all they needed were a loving family and the funds to cover expenses. A Liberty student immediately sent a text to her family, who had been praying for an opportunity such as this. Ten months later, the teenagers had a new home in America. President Falwell offered full-tuition scholarships to each of them if they chose to attend Liberty.

This miracle story was memorable for everyone at Liberty and also for Nasser himself. It is the image that comes to his mind whenever Liberty is mentioned.

“The offering was an incredible gesture,” Nasser said. “Here were three kids who never heard of Liberty or the Falwell family or David Nasser or any of us … but we didn’t care; we just wanted them to hear the name of Jesus and have a home with loving parents to take care of them. When I think of Liberty, I think of radical generosity; I think of three orphans who were rescued. I think of great theology, of missiology, of missions.”

In addition to Spiritual Emphasis Week, Nasser has also spoken at Liberty’s Convocations and other special campus events such as Winterfest, the university’s New Year’s music festival.

Definitely not a stranger to the school, Nasser was a perfect fit to take on his new role as Liberty’s senior vice president for spiritual development in August.

“Over the years, I’ve been in the classrooms, and I’ve been in the Vines Center, just pouring into students,” Nasser said. “I may in one sense be the new kid on the block now, but in another sense I am in tune with everything here. I feel like the mission of the school and the mission of my ministry line up. I see a great cohesiveness and alignment in vision.”

Nasser is the founder of D. Nasser Outreach and Christ City Church near Birmingham, Ala., where he most recently served as lead pastor. He has written four books and speaks to more than 500,000 people each year at various events across the country. Born in Iran, Nasser left the country with his family at age 9 during the Iranian Revolution. After almost a year in exile, his family moved to America, and at age 18, he rejected his Muslim heritage and became a Christian. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children.

Nasser now leads Liberty’s spiritual programs, including Convocation, the world’s largest weekly gathering of Christian young people, and the university’s Center for Global Engagement. He oversees a team that advances Liberty’s mission by strengthening the theological foundation of the student body and its leaders through gatherings such as Convocation and Campus Church. He is steering the discipleship process of seeing students come to Christ and grow in their faith and will mobilize students and faculty to reach the world for Christ through the global studies degree program, humanitarian efforts, church planting, and cohesive ministry partnerships.

“We are excited to welcome one of the nation’s foremost Christian leaders to Liberty University,” President Jerry Falwell said. “David is a gifted speaker with a passion for students. He is an equally gifted visionary and pastor, essential qualities for leading our spiritual programs.”

Nasser’s responsibilities include some of those previously held by Johnnie Moore, Liberty’s former campus pastor and senior vice president for communications. After a dozen years at Liberty, Moore recently became chief of staff for award-winning film and television producer Mark Burnett, but has remained a consultant to the university through the transition.

“I am humbled and honored to join what I believe to be an incredible force for the kingdom of God — Liberty University,” Nasser said. “There is tremendous momentum here right now at Liberty, with what God is doing. I’m just going to be one more spoke on the wheel, and I’m excited about rolling up my sleeves and serving.”

Nasser said he is privileged to be able to help in the spiritual formation of Liberty students.

“I’m thinking 20 years ahead, that these men and women will be great fathers and mothers, amazing husbands and wives, be devoted to their local church, be great community group leaders and volunteers,” he said. “Liberty is poised to raise up the next generation of leaders, so I want them to be future Supreme Court justices, missionaries, lawyers, and doctors who are going to reach the world for Christ. I want to have a voice in that conversation, to speak into their lives, and help shape students to get to bigger places. I really love the vision for this school, of just raising Champions for Christ. I feel like I could be a cup of gasoline on that fire — and it’s already a pretty big fire.”

UPDATE:

Aschalew and Genet WolfeTwo of the Ethiopian teens that David Nasser helped bring to America as a result of the “jeans offering” are currently students at Liberty.

Aschalew Wolfe is a senior finishing up a double major in business economics and business administration with a concentration in finance. His younger sister, Genet, is a junior pursing a degree in business.

“We are so grateful for what Liberty University and our new parents (the Wolfe family) have done for us,” Aschalew said. “It is great here at Liberty; it is amazing.”

Genet said that when she was living in Ethiopia six years ago, she never believed it was possible to have this sort of opportunity.

“This is just the biggest blessing to me,” she said. “It is hard for me to believe right now that I am in America and that I am a college student and that Liberty gave me a scholarship.”

Genet loves the atmosphere at Liberty, especially the people, who she describes as “genuine, kind, and very helpful.”

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